by guest blogger Julie Salvano, founder of Rhythm Babies – Join her for music class every Tuesday and Friday at The Parenting Center

…Is a common question I frequently get asked when I try to explain what I do for a living. I don’t blame them for asking; after all I would have asked the same thing before getting into this field. I agree that I advance children in many ways musically (simply by exposing them to many different musical elements), but in all honesty I would like to think I teach creative thinking. But that sounds like silly mumbo jumbo, doesn’t it? How do you teach that?

Giving children tasks that have no right or wrong answers (i.e. dancing to the beat of music or exploring rhythm instruments) expands their mind and forms creative pathways in the brain. This is all linked to a solid education. One of the smartest guys around, Albert Einstein, explained education like this;

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” -Albert Einstein

By coming up with different ways to use that movement scarf each week, or by asking older children to sing their favorite song to the class, I am helping to form and build connections in the frontal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobes control things like anticipating problems before they arise, having the ability to make sound judgments, and drawing conclusions in stressful situations. Creative thinking; we need it for more things in life than simply music. And you better believe it’s one of the building blocks of education.

Creativity should be part of every subject at school, embedded in the very fiber of our being. It is something that can be shared with every personality type, whether they are left or right brained (contrary to popular belief).

Creative thinking is not a new thing. Many people have devoted their careers to helping others by way of creativity. It is paramount to our society and is always found in the minds of cutting edge surgeons, ground breaking entrepreneurs, famous architects, and the list goes on and on. Creativity is even used to help sick children. After watching a recent TED talk, the speaker boasted about the secret way to get scared children inside an MRI machine. They pretended with the children and told them they were heading to space. After given this creative stimulus, the children were no longer afraid of the MRI and perceived it as a game or a ride.

So while teaching melody, beat, rhythm, and high verses low pitches, I am really teaching a much broader theme. I am instructing children to be successful creative thinkers. What could be better? Albert Einstein would be proud.

Julie Salvano
Executive Director, Rhythm Babies LLC